What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a simple concept. Instead of waking up and eating regularly throughout the day, with intermittent fasting, you break your day into fasting or eating windows. It’s nothing new, every religion and ancient culture has used fasting in some way over thousands of years.
There are many different types of intermittent fasting, for this article, I will focus on the most popular, which is the 16:8 protocol.
With the 16:8 you fast for 16 hours and then eat food in an 8-hour window, over a 24-hour period.
Weight Loss – The main reason people get into intermittent fasting is for weight loss. It can be an effective weight-loss tool because it makes eating more, harder. When you restrict the time in which you consume calories, you make it easier to remain in a calorie deficit, which is an essential component of fat loss. Without a calorie deficit, you cannot lose weight.
Improved Energy levels – When you stop eating and grazing on food throughout the day, you free up energy from digestion for other purposes. On top of that, it improved metabolic flexibility, which means that you are able to tap into every available fuel source in the body, like stored body fat. Rather than being dependent on a constant stream of food. Millions of people who incorporate intermittent fasting do it because it gives them stable energy levels all day long.
Reduced Hunger – Intermittent Fasting normalizes your hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin, so you stop secreting as much ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry and you become more sensitive to leptin, which makes you feel full. You also learn to understand the difference between “real hunger” which is something that occurs every 12-24 hours and “perceived” hunger, which is often triggered by stress, negative emotions, environment, and boredom. Understanding the difference gives you a real sense of control over your hunger, and people who incorporate intermittent fasting consistently report being more “in tune” with their bodies.
Many Other Health Benefits – There are more and more studies coming out that back up the fact that intermittent fasting is more than a weight-loss tool. Even in the absence of fat loss and a calorie deficit, insulin sensitivity improves, blood pressure stabilizes and inflammation decreases.
Intermittent Fasting for Men vs. Women
There are some fundamental biological and psychological differences between men and women that cannot be ignored.
Women experience menstruation on a monthly basis and have a completely different set of reproductive organs and hormones.
Women are more sensitive to physical stress on the body when compared to men. Particularly at different phases in ovulation and monthly cycles, and as women reach the menopause.
Contrary to popular belief, not all stress is bad. In fact, physical stress in controlled amounts will cause the body to adapt. Think about exercise, a form of physical stress on the muscles and cardiovascular system. When you exercise you stress the body out to create a specific adaptation, whether it’s improved cardiovascular fitness or an increase in muscle size.
Intermittent Fasting is a form of physical stress, you force your body to become more efficient and burn stored body fat. This has a host of positive benefits.
However, there are many men and women who are under-eating, overtraining, undersleeping, and drinking too much coffee and alcohol. They then try to incorporate Intermittent Fasting on top of all those different forms of stress and problems that can occur. Usually more in women vs men.
This means that women do need to be more careful in their approach to incorporating intermittent fasting. Women should be more flexible in their approach and listen to their bodies during different stages of their cycles.
Having said that, I have personally helped 100s of women incorporate intermittent fasting and achieve long-term fat loss, improved energy, and better relationships with food.
It all boils down to doing it in the right way, and for the right reasons, with the right support and accountability.
Men on the other hand do not have to be as mindful when it comes to intermittent fasting.
Men and Women Have Different Mindsets With Fat Loss
On top of the physiological differences between men and women, there are psychological differences that need to be accounted for.
On balance, diet culture and fad diets affect women more than men. There is less pressure on men to look and dress a certain way.
This means that if women do not also affect their mindset, beliefs, and identity, they are unlikely to get the long-term behavioral change which is essential for long-term fat loss success.
This is something I work on heavily with my female clients, with my 2 Meal Day Reset Plan.
Intermittent Fasting Impacts on Men and Women
In all honesty, more research needs to be done on this subject. Taking Harvard’s database of studies on intermittent fasting – only 13 out of 71 studies mention women at all. Other than that none of the controlled studies focus on the female population in effects of intermittent fasting. There are no conclusive studies that can tell us conclusively how intermittent fasting affects the female population.
At the moment there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that fasting can be beneficial for women, but not much clinical evidence.
There are differences in male vs female physiology and psychology that must be taken into consideration. Women do need to be more mindful when incorporating intermittent fasting. However, there are hundreds of thousands of women all over the world who are reaping the many benefits. I have personally helped 100s of women lose weight, boost their energy levels and improve their relationship with food, using intermittent fasting.
If you want to make the most out of Intermittent Fasting, I highly recommend starting my FREE intermittent Fasting short course, where I show how to do it properly and get amazing results in a healthy and timely manner.
- https://www.doctorpedia.com/channels/is-intermittent-fasting-safe-for-women/ – Bankston, John. 03 30, 2021
- https://www.issaonline.com/blog/index.cfm/2018/this-hot-diet-trend-is-not-recommended-for-women ISSA. 2018
- https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7874733/intermittent-fasting-for-women/ Younkin, Lainey. 11 25, 2020.